Documentary on Sound Rivers to premiere virtually on Nov. 30


( contributed photo)

A new documentary will premiere virtually Nov. 30, taking viewers on one grassroots organization’s 40-year campaign to protect the waters, and the people, of central and eastern North Carolina.

“A Sound River” premieres at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, at a free, online event that will be immediately followed by a live Q & A with Bennett, Howell and other stars of the short film.

To watch the trailer for “A Sound River” and RSVP to the premiere, visit

“A Sound River” follows Sound Rivers’ history of activism, from its humble beginnings around kitchen tables to court battles against industrial polluters, as told by the voices of Sound Rivers — its founders and partners, those continuing the fight for clean water and environmental justice, and the Riverkeepers guarding the waterways that cover nearly a quarter of North Carolina. 

( contributed photo)

“The organization has grown and evolved since its start, but seeing and hearing some of the stories from the people who have been there from the beginning, it’s clear that certain things remain constant: there will always be industries and facilities and regulations and interests threatening our waterways, but there will also always be those who care deeply for the river and their community, ready to stand up to these challenges,” said Sound Rivers’ Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell.

Tranquil eastern North Carolina rivers and dramatic footage of extreme weather events triggered by climate change act as backdrop to a film that illustrates the high stakes of inaction, while offering hope for the future, according to filmmaker Rain Bennett.

“I hope to inspire action — specifically from the Millennial and Gen-Z generations. I am aiming at the hearts of younger North Carolina locals to take up the fight Sound Rivers began four decades ago,” Bennett said. “When Sound Rivers brought me on for this project, I honestly had no idea all the work they had done over the past 40 years. In my preliminary research, I’ve become so aware of the challenges they face — and that we all face — and the importance of their mission.”

The mission to protect the waters of eastern North Carolina started in 1980 with the creation of the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation and Pamlico-Tar River Foundation in 1981, two of the oldest conservation organizations in the state. United by similar issues plaguing their waterways, the two merged to become Sound Rivers in 2015 and is based in Raleigh, New Bern and Washington. Storytellers from both were recruited to recreate the past, while experts in climate change and environmental justice provide the science and perseverance behind global issues pared down to a local scale.

“Sometimes the issues that threaten our waterways can seem overwhelming — hurricanes, climate change, industrial polluters with deep pockets, a broken regulatory system. But I hope that seeing the work that has been done over the past 40 years, people come away knowing it does make a difference when people unite together to protect their communities and waterways, and are inspired to act,” Howell said.

For Bennett, a Washington native, the opportunity to work with Sound Rivers on the film resonates personally. 

“To create this documentary means I get to do what I love, to help protect a place I love and fight for the people whom I love,” Bennett said.

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